Nokia Lumia 930 Written Review – A colourful phone

First of all I would like to thank Connects, for sending out the Lumia 930 out to me for a month trial of the phone.
After having reviewed the Lumia 1020, I was looking forward to the 930’s capabilities on Windows Phone 8 and more so the updated Windows Phone 8.1, that brings a few nifty features to the phone’s functionality.
The Lumia 930 can be bought from Nokia directly or via Amazon UK (and other sources around the world) for around £380 & AmazonUSA.

Lumia 930 - Looks

Here’s the Lumia’s 930 specifications:

Display:
Display size: 5″
Display technology: OLED
Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Pixel density: 441ppi

Processor & RAM:
Processor name: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Processor type: Quad-core 2.2 GHz
RAM: 2GB

Camera:
Primary camera sensor size: 20 MP, PureView
Camera Flash Type: Dual LED flash
Sensor size: 1/2.5 inch
Main camera f-number/aperture: f/2.4
Camera focal length: 26 mm
Camera minimum focus range: 10 cm
Camera image formats: JPEG/Exif

Connectivity:
SIM card type: Nano SIM
Charging connectors: Charging Pads, Micro-USB
Wi-Fi: WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.0
NFC
2G, 3G, 4G, LTE

Storage:
32 GB
Free cloud storage: 7 GB

Quoted Battery life:
Battery capacity: 2420 mAh
Maximum talk time (2G): 21.7 h
Maximum talk time (3G): 17.9 h
Maximum music playback time: 75 h

Dimensions:
Height: 137 mm
Width: 71 mm
Thickness: 9.8 mm
Weight: 167 g

Before getting into the written review, here’s my video review of the phone:

Introduction, Initial Impressions & Accessories

Lumia 930 Unboxing and Contents:

My initial impressions of the Lumia were positive. I really liked the minimalistic box design that Nokia have opted for. Despite the phone being reasonably big, the packaging is just double the size of the phone, and that’s it. Really small package that could easily be put in a bag and taken. I like the fact that they haven’t gone overboard here with the packaging. It’s just a small thing, but initial impressions really do matter and I think Nokia have gone for the discrete look. In the package you should find:

  • The Lumia 930
  • Earphones
  • Set of tips
  • USB Cable
  • Wall charger
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Manuals

Now the reason I said “should find”, is because I didn’t actually receive all of the above in my package – ie. the wireless charging pad was missing from my package.
This was something I wasn’t actually aware of, until my work colleagues all got the Lumia 930 for work purposes and all received a charging pad within the package. So yes, you should receive a charging pad and it’s actually really easy and cool to use, especially on a desk, where instead of plugging your phone in, you simply rest it on this pad. Wireless charging definitely isn’t new, in fact I remember seeing it at the Windows Phone 8 launch event back in 2012 in London. What sets this apart, is the fact that it is actually included in the package, rather than being a separate product. It looks like Nokia really want to make wireless charging a norm and so it should be! No one wants to realistically spend more money after landing a brand new phone for over £350 – therefore having a small little “extra” in the package is always welcome, especially when it is actually useful!

Overall, I was really happy to see what’s included, despite it not being in the unit I received, I was able to see it first hand at work. Therefore, great job Nokia for including the wireless charging and driving positive change through the mobile industry.

Build quality and design

The build quality of Nokia phones has always been one of their biggest assets, and I’m happy to report the 930 has a good sturdy build quality.

Lumia 930 - Phone

However, just like with the 1020 – I was a little disappointed to find all buttons on one side – in this case the Lumia 930 has all of its buttons (power, volume and camera) all on the right hand side of the phone. Where this made sense for the Lumia 1020, due to a camera accessory you could buy for it – for the Lumia 930 I don’t quite understand why it’s done like that. I can’t quite understand why Nokia insist on putting the buttons all on one side – it doesn’t help one-handed nor 2-handed operations of the phone. Furthermore, if you hold your phone in your right hand, the button are even harder to press, as you naturally only have your thumb on the right-hand side of the phone.

Continuing with the phone’s build quality, it comes with a centre aligned headphone jack – which again to me is a little flawed. Usually people would have right-angled jacks and I can’t see why a jack would be centred. It isn’t as much of a problem as the button placement, but it is something to note. Sure it looks nice and symmetric, but that’s pointless when it comes to using the phone. Finally at the top you’ve also got the NANO SIM input.

 

 

If we continue around the phone, you’ve got at the bottom the micro USB input.
At the back of the phone you’ll be able to see a rectangular line for the speaker. It’s unfortunate to see the speaker being on one side of the phone, rather than by the micro USB jack or dual firing stereo speakers. This means that with the Lumia 930, when placed in your left hand, the speaker will be muffled.
With that said, the sound quality and overall loudness of the speaker is very good. The lows, mids and highs were all very naturally balanced and furthermore weren’t distorted in any way when cranked up to maximum volume. I feel that despite the speakers being small, they produce an accurate and very rich sound, which only leads my imagination, to think what it would have sounded like with dual firing stereo speakers.

Lumia 930 - Speaker

Now one of the talking points of the Lumia 930 at work was its actual colour. Both at work and my review unit came in “Bright Orange”, and it really is bright. I have to say the colour is not a big deal for me, however I do think Nokia got the Orange colour a little wrong. It reminds me more of a highlighter pen or safety clothing a railway worker would be wearing. I feel that on the website, the colour looks great, but in person, not my cup of tea.
A few people at work were laughing at the brightness of the orange. It is something to note, but not something to really worry about as it comes in multiple different variations. I felt I had to mention it as the stock pictures are a little deceptive.

Lumia 930 - Colour

Rounding off the build of the phone, you’ve got a 20 MP camera with dual LED flash. More on the camera in the sections below.
I should also mention, as on other Lumia phones, there is no removable battery nor any microSD / expansion slot – I feel that the Lumia 930 would have really benefited from a removable battery design (more on that in the battery performance section).

Overall, the build quality is good, I would feel safe dropping the phone and wouldn’t really worry about breaking it, which is great. However some design flaws leads me to believe the phone was simply copy and pasted across the range. There wasn’t any logic behind some of the design/build issue and it left me a little disappointed.

Camera

Now the camera, for me, has always been spectacular on the Nokia’s – especially on the 1020 which left me really jaw dropped. With a 20MP camera, the Lumia 930 takes great shots in the light and really does bring out good details.
Its flash is also extremely powerful and can actually be toned down via the Nokia Camera app, to provide less over-exposed pictures.

Lumia 930 - Camera

However, when taking this phone and putting it in low light conditions, it wasn’t the Nokia I was expecting. Low-light pictures were average to say the least. Definitely better than some other phones I’ve tried, but not quite that “Nokia standard” as found in older models.
Finally, there was a huge problem with the screen/camera apps when tilting the phone. It’s quite hard to explain, but to try and describe it to you: When you put your finger over the phone’s camera lens and rock the phone left to right, there is a weird purple glow that appears.
I first noticed this when taking normal low light shots, which really surprised me – it’s almost as if the screen or camera was faulty somehow.
I therefore asked a work colleague for his phone and even got a second one sent to me for review, by Nokia. Unfortunately the issue was still there in all 3 phones.
In order to eliminate 3rd party factors, I tried in various locations and even tried on my Samsung Galaxy S3, Note 2 and Oppo Find 7 – all of which didn’t have the same problem as the Lumia 930.

Lumia 930 - Camera Problems Lumia 930 - Camera Problems

In short, there is a fundamental problem with the Lumia 930 – I don’t know if it’s software related or hardware related (be it camera or screen) – all I know is that there was this problem and it left me disappointed to know one of the major features, the camera, of the Lumia 930 had this problem.
Due to not seeing this problem on other phones, nor other Lumia models, I am a little baffled as to why it happens.

Finally to round off the camera section, the front facing camera was average – 1.2MP isn’t the best and slightly disappointing for a phone that’s been released in 2014. It’s not a matter of huge importance to me, but I know some people take a lot of selfies and this phone does a decent, but not great job in comparison to other phones out there right now.

Lumia 930 - Camera

Internal Sound Quality

Sound quality is always important to me, in fact it’s a huge factor, as I listen to a lot of music on-the-go. I can safely say the sound quality was extremely good. If I had to describe it, I would say: Neutral, cold and a flat sound signature.
It reminds me somewhat of the iPhone signature – which is highly regarded among audiophiles. It definitely isn’t a Samsung phone, where the sound is warm and slightly bassy – the Lumia 930 is really neutral sounding and people looking for that analytical sound, will find it in the 930.

Display

The display on the Lumia 930 is a 5″ OLED 1080P screen with a pixel density of 441ppi. The pixel density is impressive for a screen of its size and resolution.

Lumia 930 - Zoomed resolution

I have to say it’s a really nice screen to look at and better than any other Lumia phone I’ve reviewed. The 1080P display really bring out photos and videos to life.
I also found the colour saturation to be absolutely spot on. They aren’t overly done like on the Samsung devices, nor underdone like on an Oppo Find 7 – they’re just right.
The viewing angles of the phone were also very impressive and I had absolutely no problem in any sort of sunlight. I really did enjoy its screen – Nokia have done a great job here.

Lumia 930 - Lockscreen

 

 

Furthermore, I should mention the brightness – although it’s bright enough, I would have preferred more software functionalities to manually adjust it to my exact preference. As on the Lumia 930 you’re limited to: Auto, low, medium and high. Personally I like using my phones at 70-80% brightness and in this case it was either a little too bright or a little too dim for my preference.
I’m only mentioning this in the display section, although it’s more of a software limitation, than anything else.

Lumia 930 - Notifications

Overall, the display is beautiful and coupled with manual adjustments to the colour profiles (as we see on Android phones), it’s nice to view and use. I am very pleased with the overall display of the Lumia 930.

Connectivity and Call Quality

A lot of people forget to mention this – but fundamentally we are buying a phone, be it smart or not. Several important factors are connectivity and actual call quality.
I’m pleased to say the Lumia 930’s connectivity options are great: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC enabled, Wireless charging enabled by default, AC Wireless capabilities and 4G LTE.

Lumia 930 - Resolution

A lot of fire power, and for good reason as Nokia holds a lot of patents and a lot of bragging rights in the connectivity department.
The wireless charging by default is what really intrigued me – it is built in and it’s nice to see Nokia pushing this more and more – I remember it being a thing back at the Windows 8 launch, but now on Win8.1 and a year later, wireless charging is starting to pick up speed (pun intended). The charging is resonably fast, but the fact that the phone actually has it out-the-box with a wireless charger included is amazing. I know this isn’t quite connectivity, but in some ways it’s a reasonably new way of “connecting” your phone to a charger.

Finally, the call quality is great – voice outbound and inbound is crystal clear. However I did find the external speaker (the one by your ear, not the phone’s speaker), to be a little on the quiet side. It isn’t as loud as the Note2 or S3 – with that said, it’s the same as the Oppo Find 7’s speaker, where it is loud enough, but in a noisy environment proved to be a challenge to hear the other person across the line.

Overall, Nokia, as expected, delivered valiantly on this front.

Battery Performance

The battery life of the Lumia 930 is to be argued. I found the Lumia 930 to suck a lot of battery, despite having a 2420 mAh battery inside.
Speaking about idle performance first; with no sync activated nor SIM nor Wi-Fi connection, the battery lasted for 5 days. Despite this being the phone on idle, sitting – it was still very impressive to see. I don’t know that many phones that will be able to do that on idle.
With that said, what’s the point of testing that, without mention the battery life of it actually being in-use. This is where the Nokia left little to be desired. The battery got eaten up very fast, on simple-day tasks. let alone when I started playing games, such as Temple Run 2 on it, where the battery would just be hit with a pickaxe.

Lumia 930 - Gaming

This is where the Lumia 930 fell short, big time. I fell uneasy leaving it without charge for normal business day. I went to work with 100%, used it very rarely, and came home with less than 20%. To give you a comparison, the Oppo Find 7 comes home with around 45-50% and the Galaxy S3 with just over 55%.
This is without the phones being used all that much – when in-use, the Lumia 930 for some reason crumbles. This is why I can’t ever buy a phone without a removable battery functionality. It’s fundamental for me, and was extremely apart with the Lumia 930. Of course, this doesn’t solve battery life, but it does solve having to get to a charger in time or carrying around a heavy powerbank.

Lumia 930 - Design

Overall, the battery performance was disappointing. I can almost hear the Nokia 3310 coming out of the drawer and screaming in disgust.

Windows Phone 8.1 & General Performance

Now the specs of a Lumia have never impressed me on paper.
The Lumia 930 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor with 2GB of RAM to play around with. It isn’t much, but with Win8 and even Win8.1, you’ll never need that type of high-spec phone to run the OS smoothly.
Nokia have done an excellent job here, as I found the performance to be the best I’ve ever experience on a Windows Phone. Previously I was left very impressed, but now I was left jaw dropped by the performance. Super smooth, absolutely no lag going in and out of apps and furthermore enough horsepower to run the latest games with ease. The 2GB RAM also helps with multi-tasking abilities, which is always a plus for power users. On the note of multi-tasking, it’s great to have Office pre-installed and ready to go out-the-box, as is the case with All Windows Phones!

I feel that Win8.1 is to be praised here. I was previously impressed on the Win8 performance, over the Win7 one, and the Win8.1 performance is just that little refinement over its predecessor, just as it is in the desktop version.
There are a few changes on Win8.1 over Win8 – which can be seen by this Windows Phone article.
However what stood out for me was the integration of “Cortana” – yes the beautiful blue lady in Halo, Cortana.

Lumia 930 - Apps

On the Lumia 930, she isn’t quite blue, nor does she address you as Master Chief (although you could probably do that by changing your name) – but what she does do is add reminders, give you directions and help you in your day to day life.
I personally don’t use voice activated searches on my Android (which I feel Google Now is the best out of the other offerings), but I really like what Nokia have done here. It’s almost like a bridge between Google Now and Siri – definitely a nice touch and good implementation by Nokia across the board, especially seeing as Cortana can be used by app developers in their apps – something Siri would never be able to do, due to its locked down nature.

Overall, the performance of the phone is blazing fast and the OS just complements it really well. I like what Microsoft have done with Windows Phone over the years. It still isn’t quite as customisable as Android nor even iOS8 as a matter of fact, but it’s getting there slowly. I feel that Microsoft really have to step up the game and not lag behind the others – despite coming in the phone scene late, it should at least implement ideas faster and use features on other OSs to its advantage. It’s almost like the legwork has been done for them already – they can see what people like or dislike, yet instead they’re taking it at their own pace. It pretty much depicts why Nokia’s shares fell so heavily, before the Microsoft acquisition. I would just like MS to step up to the throne and challenge it, rather than be an “alternative”.

Lumia 930 - Homescreen

Conclusions and thoughts

In conclusion the Lumia 930 is an excellent phone, although has a few problems, namely the camera.
The Lumia 930 is priced at £380 – which leads itself into a lot of competition. You’ve got flagship phones like the LG G3 and Oppo Find 7 that not only give you more customisability, but heaps better specs. Although they’re not running Windows Phone – I’ve been impressed with my Oppo Find 7 for example. As far as Windows Phone’s go, this Lumia 930 is solid, pretty colourful, both in terms of its display and actual appearance and does bring several interesting things to the user, such as the excellent use of Here/Drive – one of the best navigation systems on smartphones I’ve ever experienced.

Overall, the phone is decent, but not revolutionary by any means. Furthermore at its price point it asks for a lot of criticism, in comparison to its competitors.
I would definitely recommend the phone for business users (due to the safety implementations of Windows Phone), but wouldn’t go as far as suggesting this to the wider audience. There’s simply too many good phones out there at the same (and cheaper) price, that beat the Lumia 930, in terms of experience (customisability) and even raw performance.

I hope you enjoyed my lengthy review and hope this helps towards your mobile purchasing decision!

TotallydubbedHD

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